Sunday, September 14, 2008

Creative Angst

First, indulge me showing off my new alpaca socks, which I finished earlier this week with literally a grape-sized amount of yarn left over:

I love these socks - they are incredibly soft! - and the colors are really neat, perfectly matching an old sweater of mine. However. I hand washed them last night and left them to air dry, and...well, turns out that wet alpaca smells EXACTLY like wet dog. Ugh.

The rest of the week was filled with a cold, a fever, a sick day from work which I spent on the couch watching TV with the cat, and a major meltdown. The meltdown was deconstructed late Thursday night by S., who I think -at least in part- correctly diagnosed it as a creative crisis. Which, y'know, sounds infinitely better than "I want to put my head under the covers and never come out".

Part of my morose-ness is the time of year - I hate and loathe fall, always have. Every year, I'd go back to school thinking "This is it. This is THE year that it will all fall into place." And, three weeks into the school year, it was clear that nothing had changed and I had not magically transformed myself. (I know I'm being vague here, but just think of intense anticipation met by intense disappointment). I also get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), much like many of my female relatives, and the minute it starts getting dark at 7 pm I start yearning for March. Some years are worse than others, and this year appears to be getting off to one doozy of a start.

But, it's also being fueled by the fact that my writing workshop did little more than discourage me.  And here it is, September, and I have just over three months left to meet the goal I set out for myself in February: to submit something for publication by the end of the year. I have about six things that are in various stages of completion, but the one that was closest - in my estimation - was roundly dismissed by my peers. Some of their criticism is easily ignored, but they were completely right in that the structure of the essay didn't work;  I had suspected that myself. One of the most experienced writers around the workshop table said once that each story has its own structure, the one that will tell it the best, and the trick is to find that structure. And I think he is completely correct, and I think that eventually I will find the right structure for this particular story. The problem is, it will not be in the next few months. My writing teacher actually suggested I put another piece away for a couple of years and then try rewriting it, and I was initially highly insulted until I realized that she actually might be correct. It isn't about my ability to write, or tell a story, but that sometimes things get better after a certain amount of time has wine or cheese.

And what? The last time I set a goal for myself, it was to get my master's degree by the time I turned 30. In actuality, I turned 30 in May and got my degree in December...but CLOSE ENOUGH, y'know? It was clear on my birthday that the goal was in sight and attainable, and seven months wasn't enough to get all wadded up about. And I shouldn't get too upset if it takes me six months longer to submit a writing piece than I planned. But for some reason, it's got me all in a knot. In fact, I spent several hours yesterday untangling a couple of skeins of yarn, and while I felt like I was wasting time I also felt like it was cathartic. Now, if I could only untangle my brain in the same manner...

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